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February 8, 2008

Court of Appeal backs pension campaigners

by Gill Montia

Story link: Court of Appeal backs pension campaigners

The Court of Appeal has ruled in favour of workers who claim that misleading information from Government was instrumental in their losing out on pension benefits.

Yesterday’s ruling followed a High Court case in 2007 that found the Government to be at fault in helping to mislead up to 125,000 workers whose pension schemes went into liquidation between 1997 and 2005.

The Government has lodged a further appeal to the House of Lords but it is not yet clear whether this will proceed.

A spokesman for the Department of Work and Pension stated: “We will want to consider this complex and lengthy judgment in more detail with our colleagues in government before deciding whether to pursue an appeal.”

Two years ago, the Parliamentary Ombudsman recommended that compensation be paid, having concluded that the government had published leaflets that misled some scheme trustees and members over the protection then offered under the Financial Assistance Scheme (FSA).

The FAS was replaced by the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) in April 2005, and provides fuller assistance than the FSA.

Yesterday’s ruling by the Court of Appeal has been interpreted as even stronger than last year’s High Court ruling.

According to Ros Altmann, a leading campaigner for the pensioners involved: “The three judges not only confirmed that the secretary of state’s rejection of the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s findings was irrational and unlawful, but also ruled that he must accept that his department caused injustices which go beyond just financial losses.”

 

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